The trade organization People For Bikes was instrumental in crafting boiler plate legislation to get electric-motorized bicycles legally recognized and defined as human-powered bicycles. This trade organization made sure, through design or ineptitude, that identifying illegal e-bikes is difficult or impossible for consumers, land managers and police. They also included loopholes big enough to slip a shipping container full of e-bikes through. The Xion CyberX shows how easy it is to offer a bike that meets the e-bike’s legal definition but, with a push of a button, can become a motorcycle with pedals.
THE 50-MILE-PER-HOUR E-BIKE
The Xion CyberX can be ordered through Indiegogo for now but will be available directly from the company once production begins. The bikes are made in the USA and, unlike most Indiegogo e-bikes, a customer can take a trip to San Diego, California, and test ride one right now. That’s pretty cool. If you are going to drop $3699 on an e-bike, you should be able to test ride one.
The Xion CyberX is not an e-bike. It is a motorcycle with pedals. The company claims it will do 0-30 in 4 seconds and tops out at 50 miles per hour. So how can it be legally operated as an e-bike? Simple. The owner taps a button that limits the bike’s top speed. Of course, the rider can tap that button again when out of sight of rangers (on natural-surface trails) or police (on paved bike paths and streets). Or, they can never limit the power. There is no way for an onlooker to tell if the bike’s top speed is governed.
THANKS A LOT, PEOPLE FOR BIKES
Like the old saying goes, “you made your bed, now sleep in it.” Unfortunately, People For Bikes made a bed that all trail users have to sleep in. It will be scary enough having an Xion CyberX rider blasting by at 40 miles per hour on a bike path and terrifying to have one coming straight at you on a singletrack. The growing popularity of e-bikes, and motorcycles disguised as e-bikes will force hikers, equestrians and mountain bikers off the trails they now share.
Maybe People For Bikes should change their name to People For Motorizing Recreation? It would be a lot more honest.